In which Severed Heads remind us that there’s joy in repetition, or maybe just madness; and truth in the notion that many of the so-called Industrial artists of the 1980s only got worse as they got better at figuring out their instruments and related technology, got to sounding more and more like normal musicians. In Severed Heads case, that means they’d peaked long before I ever heard them via any number of cassette only releases. But fortunately, that truth eventually found me via Clifford Darling, Please Don’t Live In The Past, a double vinyl compilation full of delightfully strange and, if needs be, antagonistic excursions.
“One more from that lost and forgotten alt-reality wherein the 1980s were everything they should have been and a record like the Undertones‘ Love Parade hit the toppermost of the poppermost – melodic, soulful, full of light, and so damned popular we all got sick of it. But it wasn’t so we didn’t, so thank all gods for that. And man, that Feargal Sharkey could sing.” (Philip Random)
“Maybe I’d would’ve liked them more if they hadn’t call themselves the Psychedelic Furs. Or as a friend once put it – too much fur, not enough psychedelic. But that doesn’t apply to the first album, which was cool and dark and working more edges than any normal reality could offer. And a rare sound that was in 1980, the new decade dawning with all of its overblown and over-shiny colours and sounds and whatever else. In fact, you can do a pretty good job of tracking all that by just lining up the first three Psychedelic Furs album covers in chronological order. Not bad. Just not getting better.” (Philip Random)
“A nifty bit of Bowie genius from 1979’s Lodger, the comparatively overlooked album that capped off his so-called Berlin Trilogy. So-called because Lodger was actually recorded in Switzerland and NYC in and around various tours. But Berlin was never far away from Bowie’s heart and brain in those days, the friction of its divided soul fueling mutant sounds and angles that couldn’t seem to help invent the future — the decade to be known as the 1980s.” (Philip Random)
The Executive Slacks being one of those mostly forgotten yet essential industrial grade outfits who did their bit for the greater evolution of all mankind in the mid-1980s. The Bus being a wonderfully uptight little ditty about the horrors of crowded public transit.
African Head Charge were nothing if not truth in advertising. Or as we once heard it put,”It’s like Africa on acid, except you’re at least ten thousand miles from Africa.” What they were was a loose sort of psychedelic dub outfit formed by London based percussionist Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah in the early 1980s, with Adrian Sherwood at the mixing board, having fun with frequencies, noise, rhythm and razor blades (which is how they used to edit audio in those days – direct application of sharpened metal to electromagnetic tape).
Curious George were one of many solid (if messy) punk-hardcore-whatever bands slamming around Vancouver in those curious years of perpetual struggle (otherwise known as the 1980s), their cover of this rather tired Pink Floyd original driving home the point that it’s seldom the song that’s wrong, only the performance. There is nothing wrong with this performance.